Cabinet to Discuss Fish Plant Financing

Monday, January 12, 2004 at 14:32



Financing for a new proposed fish processing plant in Prince Albert for the North’s commercial fishers is believed to be on tomorrow’s agenda for the provincial cabinet.


The president of the province’s fishers’ co-op, John Carriere, says he has been told northern MLAs Joan Beatty and Buckley Belanger will raise the issue during the cabinet’s weekly meeting.


A subsidiary of the provincial government’s Crown Investments Corporation recently denied the fishers’ request for a 700-thousand-dollar capital loan.


The fishers believe the main sticking point is their refusal to accept an arrangement where they would co-manage the plant with government appointees.


However, in a letter written to the fishers by Investment Saskatchewan, the fishers were also told that they didn’t have enough management experience and that the plant was significantly undercapitalized and had too much debt-like equity.


Carriere doesn’t buy Investment Saskatchewan’s reasoning, especially on the issue of management experience — and notes Saskatchewan fishers have managed processing plants in the past.


Carriere says the provincial government will suffer politically if it allows this project to die.


The estimated cost of the project is 4 million dollars. So far, only the fishers themselves have bought shares in the project to the tune of about 1 million dollars.


The fishers had hoped construction on the plant would begin this past October, but are now targeting a deadline of early April.